Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara made centuries and shared a stand of 226 to put India on course for a big first-innings total against England on the first day of the second test on Thursday in Visakhapatnam. Kohli was unbeaten on 151 and Ravichandran Ashwin on 1 as India reached 317/4 at the close after winning the toss.
Alastair Cook and Co showed little sign of bowling wicket-taking deliveries on a regular basis, and it was a long, long day for the visitors as India batted brilliantly. The day had started off well for England, with both Indian openers dismissed early on. The first to go was KL Rahul, who looked seriously short on match practice. He eventually fell poking at a ball from Stuart Broad that was well caught by Ben Stokes at third slip.
Murali Vijay joined his fellow opener in the dressing room when he was dismissed by James Anderson, who was back in the Test team for the first time since August, replacing Chris Woakes. This left India in a spot of bother with the score card reading 22/2.
Out came Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara. The right-handed pair had few problems in negotiating the English bowlers and their only moments of concerns in the first session were a couple of run-out opportunities.
The only moment of respite that England had in the 61.4 overs that Pujara and Kohli were together was when one of the many stray dogs that call Vizag their home made it on to the outfield. Back in August this year, 13 people were bitten by stray dogs in the city in one day, so with that in mind it was understandable that the players were reluctant to get involved in the removal of this canine nuisance. Instead we had the sight of the stewards chasing the dog, who was having a great time darting past them. As the dog happily pottered around the outfield, the players wandered off for an early tea. It seemed that the dog had more chance of removing these batsmen from the crease than England’s bowlers.
The distraction might well have played into England’s hands – not even the most assured of cricketers like to dwell over their landmarks. But Pujara in particular was not standing on ceremony. A six off Rashid, high over the midwicket boundary, brought up his tenth Test century from 184 deliveries, and his third in succession.
Kohli followed suit three overs later, with a punch through the covers to welcome Anderson back for his third spell, and before the close he had marched past 150 for the fourth time in Tests.
Anderson returned to finally break the partnership when Pujara was out on 119 after getting a thick edge to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.
Kohli then added 68 for the fourth wicket with Ajinkya Rahane before the latter was out for 23 to give Anderson his third scalp. None of England’s spinners managed a wicket on the first day.